Category Archives: History

The man named Charles Taze Russell

Sorry for the sudden stop on my last post. Now I will rap up the history of the formation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. With this brief history of Charles Taze Russell is only to give you a short background on who this man is, and for no other reason.

     Now after Charles T. Russell admitted that he did not know Greek he realized that he was caught, and admitted that he also knew nothing of Latin, and Hebrew and neither had he ever taken a course in Philosophy, Systematic Theology and neither had he ever attended any of the higher schools of learning. “This was the man who goes about claiming that he alone has the proper understanding of the Scriptures, condemning the translators of the Bible and denouncing all ministers and teachers of the Word except himself, and his little satellites, as ignorant, empty-headed and deceitful.”[1]

    Rev. J. J. Ross writes:

“He has familiarized himself with a few big Greek terms which have become Anglicized, such as “Apocalypsis, Epiphaneia, parousia, parakletos,” ect., puts his own meaning into them and then goes about using them before his audiences, and those who do not know any better thing him a highly- educated man. This is the man also who condemns all books and papers except those written by himself or published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.”’”

     Then Charles T. Russell wrote his first significant book, he had worked out his modifications of Adventism, based on his own assiduous study of the Holy Bible.[2] Russell wrote voluminously. “It is claimed that Russell’s explanatory writings on the Holy Bible are far more extensive than the combined writings of St. Paul, St. John, Arius, Waldo, Wycliffe, and Martin Luther.”[3] He spoke incessantly- often six and eight hours a day- and traveled as much as Bishop Asbury and the Apostle Paul together,”[4] averaging according to Braden, 30,000 miles, per year.[5] It is also claimed “that the place next to St. Paul in the gallery of fame as expounder of the Gospel of the Great Master will be occupied by Charles Taze Russell.”[6] Charles Taze Russell died in the year 1916, probably in the state of Texas.

     Now, even though this is being said about him, is it true ? Are his writings and doctrines that the Jehovah’s witnesses hold biblical? Are Jehovah’s Witnesses, really witnesses of Almighty God?

     I am planning to do this in a systematic form beginning with the Holy Bible. We are starting with the Holy Bible because doctrines are formed from God’s Word.

 

The Holy Bible: As Christians, we hold that the Holy Scriptures are inerrant; it has the same authority as God because it is his Holy Word, and there is no other written authority. We also believe that the Holy Bible consist of 66 books that are in unity and continuity, there are no contradictions within the pages of God’s Word. The Jehovah’s Witnesses the Holy Bible to be the inspired Word of God (Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, 1, p.348). Now Russell claimed no superiority he says “I claim nothing of superiority or supernatural power,”[7] yet his followers consider him the greatest Bible interpreter, next to the Apostle Paul. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not to think independently from the Watch Tower’s interpretation of the Holy Bible. This is what is written about Russell’s writings:

 

“If the six volumes of “Scripture Studies” are practically the Bible, topically arranged with Bible proof text given, we might not improperly name the volumes “the Bible in an arranged form.” That is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself. Furthermore, not only do we find that people can not see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself but we also see that if anyone lays the “Scripture Studies” aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years- if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the “scripture studies” with their references and had not read a page of the Bible as such he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the scriptures.”[8]

Russell is clearly making the claim that his writings is authoritative, saying his writings are “practically the Holy Bible itself.” Earlier I have quoted Reverend J. J. Ross who lived at the same time as Charles T. Russell saying that C. T. Russell condemns the translators of the Holy Bible. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own translation which supports their doctrines they hold (discussion about the translation of JW’s Bible will be in another post). The Watchtower believes that studying scripture apart from their literature you cannot understand what God is really saying. I will stop here, and we will look at the Jehovah’s Witnesses translation of the Holy Bible; after all they say that they have the most accurate translation. With that we will dive into some more of what they believe and compare it to God’s Word. Hope you enjoyed this post 🙂


[1] Rev. J. J. Ross, Pastor of James St. Baptist Church, Some Facts and More Facts about the self- styled “Pastor” Charles T. Russell, 1913,  p.19

[2] John H. Gerstner, The Theology of Major Sects, p. 30

[3] Elmer T. Clark, The Small Sects in America, revised edition, pp. 45f

[4] Ferguson, Op, cit., p.65.

[5] Charles Samuel Braden, These Also Believe, p. 361.

[6] Elmer T. Clark, The Small Sects in America, revised edition, pp. 45f

[7] Watch Tower, July, 1906

[8] John R. Rice, False Doctrines Answered, p.299 ( The Watchtower of September 15, 1910, p. 298)

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Pontius Pilate the Man with the Great Struggle

 

I have a weird collection of books one is called “the Lost books of the Bible and the forgotten books of Eden”. I do not hold them to be equal to the Holy Bible or to be lost books of the Holy Bible. However I do think they are interesting and can shed some light on the way people thought in ancient times. In this book there is a supposed letter between Herod and Pontius Pilate, the letters occur in a Syriac manuscript dating around the time of the sixth or seventh century and is held at the British museum. This may or may not be genuine, I read somewhere that these letters came from the library of Pontius Pilate, I really don’t know. The reason why I am even writing about it is because I think the writer (whether it was Pilate himself or not) pin pointed Pilate’s feelings correctly on the matter of Jesus’ crucifixion. So here is the letter (note this is a letter between Emperor Tiberius and Pilate and is just a response from Pilate and not the entire dialogue between him and the Emperor.

 

THE EPISTLE OF PONTIUS PILATE

Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar the Emperor – Greeting:

UPON Jesus Christ, whom I fully made known to thee in my last, a bitter punishment hath at length been inflicted by the will of the people although I was unwilling and apprehensive. In good truth, no age ever had or will have a man so good and strict.

But the people made a wonderful effort, and all their scribes, chiefs and elders agreed to crucify this ambassador of truth, their own prophets, like the Sibyls with us, advising the contrary; and when he was hanged super- natural signs appeared, and in the judgment of philosophers menaced the whole world with ruin.

His disciples flourish, not belying their master by their behavior and continence of life; nay, in his name they are most beneficent. Had I not feared sedition might arise among the people, who were almost furious, perhaps this man would have yet been living with us. Although, being rather compelled by fidelity to thy dignity, than led by my own inclination, I did not strive with all my might to prevent the sale and suffering of righteous blood, guiltless of every accusation, unjustly, indeed,
through the maliciousness of men, and yet, as the Scriptures interpret, to their own destruction.

Farewell. The 5th of the Calends of April.

Now after you read this doesn’t this sound like what we read in the Four Gospels. In the Gospel of Matthew 27:11-14 we see that Pilate investigated him to see if he had done any wrong. In verse 19 Pilate’s wife tells him not to have anything to do with this man because of the dreams she was having. Verse 23 Pilate asks the Jews “Why? What crime has he committed?” verses 24- 26 Pilate sees that an uproar is coming and can get worse so he has Jesus flogged and led to be crucified. Mark tells the same story in chapter 15. In the Gospel of Luke verses 4; 13-16; 20-22 we see Pilate wanted to find a way to release Jesus, he examined Jesus and found no fault, he was hoping that if he would punish Jesus it would satisfy the people, but it doesn’t work the people still want Jesus crucified. Once more we see Pontius Pilate trying to let Jesus go in the Gospel of John 18:29- 38. According to Holy Scripture Pilate was afraid, and when he heard the Jews say: “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 19:8 says “when Pilate heard this he was even more afraid” Pilate really saw no fault in the Lord Jesus and tried to have him set free, but the people were to demanding, so Pilate not wanting a riot handed him over to be crucified. I peronally think this sheds some truth as to what may have been going on in the mind of Pntius Pilate, though we know Jesus had to be crucified for our sins and resurrected to give us life.  

Hear are the scriptures that speak on this matter. (Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15; Luke 23:4-24; John 18:29-19:16)

Hope you enjoyed this 🙂

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